Loyola University Chicago students demonstrated Thursday to show support for the student protesters at the University of Missouri.
The demonstration at Loyola was one of many University of Missouri solidarity actions that took place Thursday to protest against racial discrimination on college campuses nationwide.
Loyola students also used the protest to call attention to the issue of gentrification in Rogers Park.
Organizers of Thursday's protest at Loyola issued a statement, which read in part:
We hope to use this opportunity to address our concerns with Loyola's administration and their ongoing dismissal and lack of accountability toward students of color on campus, particularly black students.
Not only do we wish to highlight the systemic oppression faced by black and brown students in collegiate institutions, but also to emphasize the impact they have on their surrounding communities. The demands of the students will be declared at the demonstration on Thursday.
We are not fighting to reform or support the oppressive systems that academia upholds. We are fighting for more spaces where black and brown students are safe and no longer traumatized and targeted.
According to The Black Tribune, a blog operated by Loyola students, "jarringly racist" comments were posted on Loyola University Chicago's feed on the Yik Yak social media app earlier this week after plans for the Mizzou solidarity action were announced.
Loyola University Chicago Interim President John Pelissero released a statement late Thursday in response to the student protest as well as the social media comments:
This afternoon, members of our campus community gathered on the East and West quads to stand in solidarity with students from the University of Missouri and participate in a national movement to discuss, and fight, racism focused on black students. Those gathered also stated their desire for Loyola to further address the needs of students of color and to recruit more students of color.
I am proud of our community's response and the commitment to addressing issues of justice. Loyola welcomes students, faculty, staff, and visitors from different perspectives, identities, cultures, and backgrounds and celebrates the free exchange of ideas, which is at the heart of a Jesuit education.
During today's demonstration, a group of students visited the Office of Student Development to deliver a list of concerns related to their experience on campus as students of color. I can assure you that University leaders have received the list, we want to hear more, and we will respond to these concerns. Student leaders, the Office of Student Development, the Office of the Provost, and Human Resources will collaborate to advance this campus conversation. I will work with them in the coming weeks to see that the momentum created today continues.
As in all instances, while we welcome a diversity of opinions and perspectives, we expect dialogue to be respectful, and we expect our Community Standards to be upheld. In the last 24 hours, students have referred to some inflammatory, anonymous comments on social media sites like Yik Yak. I want to emphasize that our community has zero tolerance for all hate-filled, racist comments, and I can assure you that anyone, whether student or employee, found responsible for these comments will be subject to the University's conduct process.
Thank you to everyone who continues to strive to make Loyola University Chicago and our larger community a just and safe world for all. Exploring complex societal issues like racism is a worthy and commendable pursuit for our University. You will hear more from administration in the coming days about next steps in advancing this conversation.